Suzan Meldonian/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • The 2016 National Geographic <a href="http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/nature-photographer-of-the-year-2016/ "target="external">Nature Photographer of the Year contest</a> is accepting entries in four categories: landscape, environmental issues, action and animal portraits. The following entries are from the animal portraits category. <br></br> Nagano, Japan. The water drops of melted snow. <br></br>Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/262933/"target="external">Takeshi Marumoto</a>.
    Takeshi Marumoto/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • While enjoying the sights of Chicago's Garfield Conservatory, this unlikely traveler takes a closer look at this bromeliad. Sometimes you have to slow down to appreciate the tiny wonders right in front of you. </br></br> Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/1367150/"target="external">Samira Qadir</a>.
    Samira Qadir/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Thousands of flamingos live in Lake Bogoria — paradise for them. </br></br>Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/1022196/"target="external">Yu huiping</a>
    Yu huiping/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • A walrus on the shore. </br></br>Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/376648/"target="external">Mike Korostelev</a>.
    Mike Korostelev/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Aptenodytes forsteri, emperor penguin adults shielding chicks from the forces of a storm in Antarctica. We were camping on 3-meter-thick frozen seawater, just 1.5 miles from a big emperor penguin colony with lots of mega-cute chicks. I concentrated on taking images of the adorable chicks in the harsh conditions of their environment. </br></br>Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/1378681/"target="external">Gunther Riehle</a>.
    Gunther Riehle/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Cotylorhiza tuberculata, the Mediterranean jelly or fried egg jellyfish, is pretty common throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Its stings are totally harmless to humans, yet its beauty is absolutely contagious. </br></br>Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/57248/"target="external">Stefano Spezi</a>.
    Stefano Spezi/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • During our trip to Botswana, we came across two lionesses and their six cubs resting under a bush at midday. This male lion came along to visit the den. The females were very wary at first. We were told that a male lion will kill cubs that aren't his. Fortunately, he lay down with the cubs and closed his eyes to sleep. The cubs were very excited to see their dad. This little guy was trying hard to get him to play. Dad was definitely not happy to be woken.</br></br>Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/1366028/"target="external">P. Kuhn</a>.
    P. Kuhn/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • A grizzly bear sow and cub use a fallen log to fish for Chinook salmon on a creek in the Yukon in Canada. The long, sharp claws of grizzly bears are perfect for filleting salmon. Image taken by a remote camera trap.</br></br>Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/122999/"target="external">Peter Mather</a>.
    Peter Mather/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • I recently discovered this tripodfish, Bathypterois grallator, a larval fish during a black water scuba diving expedition to document vertical migration of marine creatures in the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf Stream. The tripodfish or tripod spiderfish, is a deep-sea benthic fish known mostly from photographs from submersibles. This fish comes up from the depths of 2,400 feet to 15,000 feet during a vertical ocean migration. </br></br> Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/277344/"target="external">Suzan Meldonian</a>.
    Suzan Meldonian/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • A polar bear ekes out a lonely existence in a barren world of ice. </br></br>Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/1327035/"target="external">Harry Lyndon-Skeggs</a>,
    Harry Lyndon-Skeggs/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • An owlet uses its camouflage to hide from predators.</br></br> Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/941598/"target="external">S. Dere</a>.
    S. Dere/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Hiking with the local guides, we stumbled on this mountain gorilla peering curiously from the depths of the Impenetrable Forest in southwestern Uganda. </br></br>Photo and caption by <a href="http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/1327035/"target="external">Harry Lyndon-Skeggs</a>.
    Harry Lyndon-Skeggs/2016 National Geographic Nature